Mickey, black silly squirrel, dies months after hawk attack

Avoacadoface Mickey

Mickey, the black squirrel with ingrown teeth I took care of for a few months earlier this year, has died. Mickey had increasingly worse seizures and wasn’t responding to medicine, the wildlife rehabilitators who took her in said. Eventually they sadly had to euthanize her.

Mickey came to me from Peter Richter, a hawk-watcher and blogger, who knew Mickey as a cheeky character at a Queens community garden. Mickey took nuts by hand, much braver than her squirrel companion. Mickey tried to fight off a red-tailed hawk and ended up falling. My theory was that she broke her top teeth, which her big bottom teeth need to grind against.

Peter nervously watched her decline and brought her to me just in time. She was cold, had lost weight, was covered in mites and her bottom teeth were growing into her top gums. I clipped her teeth and she regained her strength eating mushy foods like avocado.

I got to know and like Mickey. She was easy to handle, almost like a released pet. I wondered if she wanted to be treated like a pet. I hugged her. She peed on me. I stopped trying to cuddle her, but she always did like a back scratch. I thought she’d like to be a mom to orphaned baby squirrels. Nope. She carried them out of her house and attacked them. She would stomp around her cage if she thought it was time for food and I wasn’t providing

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Medievel Squirrel Denistry on My Kitchen Table

I’ve been a widlife rehabilitator for a while but somehow managed to avoid the standard but scary procedure in treating squirrels known as teeth clipping. Squirrel teeth continually grow and get worn down against each other–unless something happens so they don’t line up right.¬† Then someone has to clip them.

Named Mickey by her friends at the Sunnyside Park Community Garden, this sweet, adult, black, female squirrel had bottom teeth growing into her top gums. Peter Richter, who caught her and carried her in, said she had a bad fall a couple months ago. Until then she had been friendly to people and a ferocious defender of her territory from other squirrels.

In what seemed like medieval dentistry, I got some electronics clippers from Ace. I held the extraordinarily cooperative patient in a fleece. I don’t think I’m as compliant when I get my teeth cleaned. I could be brave because with her teeth in this condition, she couldn’t bite me anyway. Or bite anything. She could only lick food and water out of the side of her mouth.

Then, snap, just like that, it was done. It really was just as easy as the YouTube videos claimed. She enthusiastically started eating an apple. Before I clipped her teeth she could only lick food out of the side of her mouth, so it was a success.

She still has a long way to go–a hole in her chin, no top teeth for now–but I think she is well

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